On Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant In Oregon
Becoming a physical therapy assistant can be an excellent career choice, whether the individual is a newly graduated adult seeking out his or her first job, or someone who is searching for a more rewarding career.
With a growing demand for qualified physical therapist assistants in Oregon, this field will continue to enjoy sustained and robust growth for the foreseeable future.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is the process of using various types of exercise to assist an injured or ill individual in regaining his or her physical strength and coordination.
The use of physical therapy has become increasingly important at all levels of the American healthcare sector, with physical therapy becoming an integral component of various types of rehabilitative care.
Among the most common uses of physical therapy are the following:
- Assisting the victims of traumatic injuries to regain the effective use of their limbs.
- Helping individuals who have been bedridden redevelop the physical capabilities needed to walk and otherwise function independently.
- Individuals suffering from degenerative diseases will receive physical therapy in order to reduce the impact of the disease.
- Elderly individuals often receive physical therapy to ensure that they retain the ability to maintain a physically active lifestyle for as long as possible.
- Individuals suffering from senile dementia may receive physical and mental benefits from an ongoing program of physical therapy.
The Physical Therapy Assistant
Physical therapy assistants work with physicians, nurses and physical therapists in designing, implementing and evaluating a program of physical therapy for the patient.
Because most physical therapy programs are tailored for individual patients, physical therapist assistants must be capable of handling a wide variety of treatments.
Furthermore, due to the importance of interacting with the patients as well as the rest of the medical staff, physical therapy assistants must have excellent communication skills.
In addition to working in a hospital setting, physical therapist assistants are becoming increasingly common in rehabilitation centers, convalescent homes and specialty fields such as sports medicine.
Additionally, the growing number of elderly patients in America has led to a rising number of physical therapy assistants being employed by eldercare facilities.
In-Home Physical Therapy
A growing part of the physical therapy sector is in-home care. Many physical therapy assistants will travel to the homes of their patients in order to provide physical therapy in a comfortable setting.
This can be especially important for the elderly who have limited mobility or who may suffer from various types of senile dementia, which would make a trip out of their familiar home stressful and frightening.
In addition, in-home visits allow the physical therapy assistant to train the caregivers in how to effectively work with the patient.
Becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant in Oregon
Oregon requires that the Oregon Physical Therapist Licensing Board license all practicing physical therapy assistants. The Board requires that all candidates conform to the following requirements:
- Complete an accredited program for physical therapy assistants.
- Take and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE).
- Complete a jurisprudence examination.
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
Physical therapy assistant programs are mainly offered by community colleges and vocational schools. These programs train the students in the academic and practical aspects of providing effective physical therapy. In addition to classroom-based work, many programs also allow their students to obtain clinical experience by working with real patients under the supervision of their instructors and other qualified medical personnel.
In most cases, these programs take approximately two years to complete for a full-time student. However, working students or individuals otherwise unable to attend on a full-time basis can attend the program as part-time students. This allows the student to complete the program on his or her own schedule, usually by taking classes on the weekends or evenings.
Finally, Oregon only accepts programs that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
This body ensures that all accredited schools have been evaluated and comply with strict standards of professional and academic excellence. Any student should verify that his or her program is currently in good standing with the CAPTE before enrolling.
Taking and Completing the NPTE
The NPTE is the national examination for physical therapy assistants and is designed to evaluate their ability to provide effective care to their patients.
Oregon only allows a student to retake the NPTE three times in any given year, dated from the date of the first test, so it is important that the student ensure that he or she is ready to pass the test before taking it.
The Jurisprudence Examination
Finally, Oregon requires that all candidates take and pass a state jurisprudence examination. This exam ensures that the therapist assistant understands his or her duties and responsibilities under Oregon law.
Becoming a physical therapy assistant in Oregon is an excellent choice that has very beneficial career and salary options. In addition to being professionally rewarding, physical therapy assistants have the personal satisfaction of knowing that they provide a vital service for their patients and fellow medical professionals.